Crime and Punishment

Sheldon Silver and His Sway on NYC Real Estate

4 World Trade Center

The outsize influence of Democrat New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver drastically impacted legislation over his decades-long political career. Now that Mr. Silver has been arrested on federal corruption charges, including having received $700,000 from a real estate law firm, Albany has been shaken and calls have been made for his resignation.

While Mr. Silver is under fire for his potentially illicit relationship with two law firms, there is no disputing the fact that he has been instrumental in shaping—and unshaping—the city’s real estate landscape. With that in mind, Commercial Observer decided to look at some of the projects Mr. Silver has been involved in, none of which have been cited as a source of illegal dealings. Here are some of the most high-profile New York City real estate developments and issues that Mr. Silver has impacted. Read More

Lease Beat

RFR Signs Three New Leases at 275 Madison Avenue

275 Madison Ave.

Three companies signed three new leases this month to move into 275 Madison Avenue between East 39th and East 40th Streets, a 43-story office building owned by RFR Realty, Commercial Observer has learned.

Information analysis startup 7Park Data signed a lease for 4,652 square feet of 15th-floor space. The firm has an address at 137 Varick Street now, but is relocating to Madison Avenue, a spokesperson for the company confirmed. 7Park Data was represented by Marc Miller and Jared London of MHP Real Estate Services. “Their layout is not yet finalized,” Oliver Katcher of RFR said, “but is expected to have a wide open layout with multiple conference rooms and an open pantry/lounge. The 7Park space opens up onto one of two large terraces on the 15th floor of 275 Madison Avenue. The space is bright— along with the terrace, it has windows on three sides and has three corners—with two of those corners south facing.” Read More

Lease Beat

Personal Injury Law Firm Moves Within Midtown East

747 Third Avenue.

Law firm Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman is moving two blocks south of its Midtown East offices to William Kaufman Organization‘s 747 Third Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

Specializing in personal injury, the law firm has taken 9,310 square feet in a 10-year deal spanning the entire 23rd floor of the 39-story building between East 46th and East 47th Streets, according to Avison Young, which brokered the deal on behalf of the tenant. Read More

Sales Beat

Aini Family Partnership Buys 145 West 45th Street

145 West 45th Street.

A partnership led by the New York-based Aini family acquired a 12-story office property at 145 West 45th Street with a $40 million loan from New York Community Bank, Commercial Observer has learned.

The new owners acquired the property from a group of investors for Queens-based Samson Management for an undisclosed price, according to a person familiar with the transaction. Read More

Crime & Punishment

Silver Pocketed $700K in Real Estate-Related “Undisclosed Bribes and Kickbacks”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. (Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver used his office to mask millions of dollars in “bribes and kickbacks” as legitimate outside income from two private law firms over more than a decade, according to a bombshell 35-page criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today. The five-count complaint on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, and extortion outlines two schemes Mr. Silver used to leverage his official position as the powerful Democratic leader of the Assembly to rake in cash, which he presented as legitimately earned income for representing private clients.

Mr. Silver collected more than $6 million in outside income from two private law firms since 2002, according to the complaint. Approximately $700,000 came in “undisclosed bribes and kickbacks” from a scheme in which Mr. Silver used his influence as Assembly Speaker to “induce real estate developers with business before the State” to use a real estate law firm run by an attorney who previously worked as Mr. Silver’s counsel in the Assembly, and which paid Mr. Silver for the referrals. Read More

The Lease Beat

Perfume Company Adds a Floor at 555 Madison Avenue

555 Madison Avenue.

Mane USA, a French perfume creation company founded in 1871, renewed and expanded its lease at The Coates Building at 555 Madison Avenue between East 55th and East 56th Streets, according to Mane’s broker Handler Real Estate Organization.

It is renewing its lease on the 28th and 30th floors, and expanding to the 31st floor, for a total of 17,417 square feet, a release from Handler said. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Lever House Loan Goes to Special Servicer

Lever House at 390 Park Avenue.

A $98.8 million CMBS loan on 390 Park Avenue, owned by RFR Holding, has been sent to special servicing with the note facing imminent maturity default, according to a Trepp report based on recent servicer data. CWCapital Asset Management is listed as the special servicer.

The news comes despite the fact that the 234,240-square-foot building known as Lever House is 96 percent occupied with its debt service coverage ratio at 1.33x, the property’s latest financials show. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Berkeley Point Capital Provides $354M Credit Facility For Massive SoCal Portfolio Buy

An aerial view of the Inland Empire (Basil D. Soufi/Wikimedia Commons)

TruAmerica Multifamily, in conjunction with institutional investors including The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Allstate, has acquired a 14-property multifamily portfolio in southern California for $482 million, according to an announcement this week.

The acquisition was leveraged with a $354 million FannieMae Credit Facility from Berkeley Point Capital, which was originated by Senior Managing Director Mitch Clarfield. The facility was able to finance the entire portfolio and used both fixed and floating rate debt trusts. Read More

Sales Beat

Rehab Consortium Nabs Bensonhurst Nursing Home for $30M

2266 Cropsey Avenue

Allure Group, a for-profit consortium of rehabilitation centers, has purchased what was called the Sephardic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bensonhurst. The property sold for $30.1 million on Dec 31, according to public records filed with the city on Tuesday.

The site at 2266 Cropsey Avenue between Bay 32nd Street and 23rd Avenue, sold by Sephardic Home for the Aged, is comprised of 83,388 square feet, according to PropertyShark. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Rabsky Group Takes $95M TD Bank Loan for W’burg Development

Rendering of Leonard Pointe.

TD Bank provided a $95 million mortgage to refinance existing debt on Rabsky Group’s recently completed Leonard Pointe development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, city records show.

The loan replaces construction financing provided by PNC Bank in October 2013. TD Bank’s Brian Terry, a senior vice president for the suburban New York and Long Island area, originated the new debt, according to the loan documents. Read More

Lease Beat

TransSystems, RWDSU Lease Space at Feil’s 7 Penn Plaza

7 Penn Plaza.

Feil Organization this month has signed new leases with two new tenants at its 7 Penn Plaza, bringing the 368,000-square-foot Garment Center building to more than 95 percent leased, the organization announced today.

Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union, or RWDSU, which represents 100,000 men and women in a variety of occupations in the U.S. and Canada, has taken 23,000 square feet on the fifth floor and 7,500 square feet on the 14th floor. CBRE‘s Brian Gell and Laurence Briody represented the tenant in the deal. The relocation lease is for 15 years. Read More

Sales Beat

JTRE Holdings Buys Midtown Garage for $21M

240 East 54th Street

Jack Terzi of JTRE Holdings has closed on the purchase of a three-story Midtown East parking garage at 240 East 54th Street between Second and Third Avenues, for $21 million. The property went under contract in December, as The New York Post previously reported and public records indicate the seller was Gould Investors.

The sale closed on Jan. 13 and was recorded with the city yesterday. Read More